LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- This year has no doubt been an interesting one for the real estate business. As the nation began to recover from the housing market crash, we saw mortgage rates hit historic lows month after month and more recently housing prices have begun to rise. What does 2013 hold for us?
Scott McElmurry, President and CEO of Bank of Little Rock Mortgage stopped by "THV 11 News This Morning" to give insight.
- First, let's talk about mortgage rates. Will they remain low?
McElmurry says, "We ARE expecting rates to continue to be at historic lows at least for the first part of the year. But in its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook, Freddie Mac predicts rates will rise gradually during the second half of the year, but still remain below 4 percent."
- How does the Fiscal Cliff debate affect mortgage rates?
McElmurry says, "It all depends on the final resolution of the debate. Any results that harm the economy (higher taxes potentially) may be actually good for interest rates, but obviously bad overall. However, the potential down grade of the U.S. credit rating if a deal cannot be reached that the markets determine help our debt and deficit problem will likely be bad for mortgage rates."
- So what about housing prices? Will they continue to go up?
McElmurry says, "We've seen housing prices rise slightly over the last six months - which is great for people trying to sell their homes. The industry buzz is that home values will likely continue to rise next year. But with mortgage rates still low it's a win/win for both the seller and the buyer."
- There were a lot of people refinancing this year because of the low rates. Do you expect that to still be a good option for people?
McElmurry says, "With rates at such historic lows, 2012 seemed to be the Year of Refinancing. At Bank of Little Rock Mortgage, we helped over 800 this year alone refinance their mortgage. We saw such a high demand for information that we even created an eBook that people could download for FREE to learn more about the process and to really look at whether refinancing would work for them."